What’s to be blue about blueberries?
They have minimal maintenance requirements, can endure cold temperatures and can grow without pesticides or pest control. (At least, that is the case here in Tennessee).
Although it generally takes three to five years for a blueberry plant to generate a good yield, even the smallest of plants will produce some berries the first or second summer. (Blueberry plants will reach a height of 10 to 12 feet when left unpruned).
Blueberries can be planted in either the fall or spring. Just keep in mind that the ideal time to plant blueberries is when the plant is dormant, before fruit appears.
A few tips for blueberry growers:
- Select an elevated site to plant blueberries such as a hill. If one does not exist, plant blueberries in a raised bed.
- Blueberries need to be planted in a location that drains well.
- Test the soil before planting. Blueberries like an acidic soil with a pH range between 4.8 to 5.2.
- Space blueberry plants six feet apart.
- Plant at least two varieties for cross-pollination.
- Water the plant after planting and top the soil surrounding the plant with sawdust mulch.
- Remove all flower buds at time of planting to encourage strong root development.
- Weed early in the spring, before harvest season begins.
- Keep a 2 to 3 foot weed-free circle surrounding each blueberry bush. This has been proven to increase the yield of berries produced.
- Young blueberry plants can easily be damaged by weed-eaters. To protect tender plants, place a thick tree protector around the base of each plant. With a little care, an established blueberry plant will produce berries for 20 to 30 years before needing to be replaced.